Pursuit: The act of chasing after somebody or something in order to catch, attack, or overtake that person or thing.
Happiness: The feeling or showing of pleasure, contentment, or joy.
If there’s a faster way to be a buzz killer regarding the Constitution, I don’t know what it is. When broken down in to these two terms, ‘the pursuit of happiness’ suddenly turns as dark and chilling as the next Stephen King thriller. Just typing it out made the sun go behind a cloud and I bet the day it gets published there’ll be thunderstorms. Be honest, do you really want it known that you’re chasing after feelings of pleasure in order to catch and attack them? Not me. I have an ex-wife and a bunch of sorry relatives to take care of that specific little chore.
Thank goodness there is a definition for the entire phrase, which is ‘the effort made to try to achieve or obtain happiness over a period of time.’ That’s a lot better and does a more complete job of explaining why America has all these illegal aliens I keep hearing about on talk radio. I don’t think the Magna Carta even listed the pursuit of happiness as a basic right when it was drafted. Of course, people probably had a different outlook on life eight hundred years ago in Merry Olde England. Then again, if Olde England was so Merry, pursuit of happiness might not have been such a big deal back then. The flip side of that argument is that when the U.S. Constitution was being written, the pursuit of happiness was enough of a big deal for Jefferson et al to make sure it got included.
So, then, you might ask, “What’s the big deal?”
I’m glad you did, because, as you might have guessed, I have an opinion on the subject and here it comes. The old axiom that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure applies here. If you doubt that, take a trip out to the King Cotton Antique Mall and ask Philip Lee. Even if you still remain unconvinced, at least it will stir up a little business for Philip and add a jolt, small though it might be, to the local economy. Philip will be happy with that.
A chance remark my dad made might illustrate the point a little better. It was an overcast, rainy afternoon one fall, probably around 1982 or so. We were on the way to my uncle’s farm in Randolph County to go deer hunting. As we crossed over the lake on Highway 280, we noticed that there were a number of fishermen on the water, scattered around the lake. Daddy was more than a little contemptuous. “Look at all those idiots out there fishing in the rain,” he said. My reply was quick, “What about us? We’re going deer hunting in the rain? Does that make us idiots too?” My attempt to hoist him on his own petard failed. “No, son, you were an idiot long before we decided to go deer hunting today.” Thanks, dad. What a man.
Life, Liberty, and…..
The other day Connie and I were running an errand that required us to go to Cordele. On the way, Connie had occasion to dig around inside her purse in search of something, which caused me to notice her purse, using the term loosely.
Normally I would call something this big a tote sack, but it wasn’t made out of burlap. It’s bright red on the outside and yellow on the inside, has one inside pocket (for a cell phone, which appeared to be full of q-tips) and a cavernous interior big enough to shoplift watermelons.
When it comes to pocketbooks, Connie makes her way from big bags to small clutches and back again, in a never ending search for the “right pocketbook”. Every once in a while, she’ll buy one because it’s “cute”, or “fun”, or “stylish”. She even buys pocketbooks for her friends, if she sees one that’s on sale. She only has one standing rule: Never get rid of a pocketbook.
When I remarked on Connie’s newest victim, she said that she bought it to make a fashion statement, which caused me to laugh so hard I spit Mountain Dew on the dash. Connie was not amused and proceed to enlighten me on the use and value of pocketbooks in general, expensive pocketbooks in particular, and to further broaden my cultural knowledge about pocketbook customs.
“Clay, you don’t understand,” she began. “A woman can put on a worn out jogging suit, some good running shoes, lots of good jewelry, and carry a really expensive pocketbook into the most snobbish store in America and get treated like royalty. Even a place like Kennebrew’s in Americus.”
Again, we had to pause long enough for me to wipe Mountain Dew off the dashboard.
As my education continued, I found out that there are some evil undercurrents in American culture that men (or at least I) have never considered. On the accessory scale, a pocketbook rates higher than other accessories women use, such as shoes, jewelry, and husbands. It turns out that pocketbooks are much, much more valuable than husbands.
Connie has a friend who once traded pocketbooks with a stranger she just met in a bar. They both admired each other’s pocketbooks, they both said so, and then they agreed to trade, dumping the contents right out on the bar and swapping. I guess you could do that with a husband, but people would talk.
If one woman tells another woman how much she loves her pocketbook and wants one just like it, that is considered a compliment and is usually followed by an invitation to “try it out”.
Pocketbooks carry lots of important things without complaining. They open up when you tell them to open up and they shut up when you tell them to shut up. If you want to make sure they stay shut up, there’s usually a latch, a snap, or a zipper to make sure they stay shut up. Husband’s do not have that feature.
Pocketbooks don’t complain when a woman is running late. They know how to keep secrets. Pocketbooks don’t work late, drink beer, or pass gas. Pocketbooks never go out with their friends and never complain about dinner. Pocketbooks watch chick flicks and hate John Wayne.
You get the idea. Apparently if Connie’s pocketbooks could cut the grass and wash the dishes, I’d be history.
Life, Liberty, and…..
Cuisine or Cussin‘?
Just when I thought it was safe to go out to dinner again, I found out that the lunatics have taken over the restaurants. I knew it was coming, though, and I was not surprised to find out that I have been right all along.
Yuppies just aren’t happy unless they’re spending way too much money, and just like the Baby Boomers, they’re getting older and have more disposable income. Of course, given the changes in the economy in the last year, that may no longer be the case.
When places like the Golden Corral and Ryan’s Steakhouse started offering all you can graze buffets, I knew it was just a matter of time before the Yuppies would hitch their wagon to the same mule.
When the elite go to the buffet, though, they don’t actually call it a buffet, unless there’s a wedding or a funeral taking place. When the elite go to the buffet, they order a ‘chef’s sampler’ and the wait staff brings it to them one dish at a time. A chef’s sampler consists of small servings of several different entrees, selected especially by the chef de cuisine, and usually costs between $89.95 and $129.50.
There you go, folks, all you can eat for $150.00. The difference is made up by the wine that is NOT complementary, the surcharge for allowing you to use your credit card, and the 18% gratuity they added whether or not you liked the service.
Here’s the bad news. Yeah, really, that was the good news and here comes the bad news. Those small servings hand picked by the chef have another name at the Mercer household. We call them “leftovers“.
There’s also a big deal these days about getting “free range” food. I suppose the idea is that a cow, or a hog, or a chicken, for that matter, will taste better if it was happily living an unrestricted life before somebody killed it and put it on the menu.
Our daughter-in-law is a chef de cuisine at a restaurant in Denton, Texas, and she has free range chicken on her menu. Where was that particular chicken ranging? At the college? On the basketball court? What was it eating? How did it get so fat?
You can stand at the only red light in Dooly County, in downtown Vienna, at seven o’clock in the morning and hear roosters crow. I’ve never heard a rooster crow while we’ve been in Denton.
Angus beef seems to be another big deal which completely bypasses reason. It’s a safe bet to say that half the folks I know can’t tell a live Angus steer from a Beefmaster steer or a Limousin steer. That’s why they say “black Angus”, so when you pass a pasture full of black cows, you think happy thoughts about the last black Angus steak you had.
It’s also a safe bet to say that, after it hits the plate, 99.99% of the people I know can’t differentiate between a steak that used to be an Angus and one that used to be something else. So, how do the restaurateurs know? They don’t. They put “Black Angus” on the menu and whatever’s handy on the grill.
If all this frustrates you, I understand. Blame it all on Martha Stewart.